Propylene oxide is an organic compound with the molecular formula CH3CHCH2O. This colourless volatile liquid with an odour resembling ether, is produced on a large scale industrially. This compound is sometimes called 1,2-propylene oxide to distinguish it from its isomer 1,3-propylene oxide, better known as oxetane
Industrial production of propylene oxide starts from propylene. Two general approaches are employed, one involving hydrochlorination and the other involving oxidation.
Major application of propylene oxide is its use for the production of polyether polyols for use in making polyurethane plastics. It is a chiral epoxide, although it is commonly used as a racemic mixture. Propylene oxide also used in food industry to pasteurize raw almonds.